Rock carvings in Karakiyasay

There is a stream which flows into the Chirchik river in Karakiyasay gorge on the southern slope of Karzhantau. The high rocky slopes of the gorge are a huge canyon, its depth reaches 50 m, but not only natural beauty will be of interest to travelers. There are rock drawings carved on the ancient rock - petroglyphs on both sides of the gorge.

Most of the rock carvings are located on the left bank of the river, 20-25 km north of the Gazalkent city. The Karakiyasay petroglyphs are located on separate rocks and boulders. Totally, there were found 90 stones with 1015 individual images and scenes. Like the other monuments, they depict animals: goats, wild rams, camels, horses, wolves, bulls. In addition to images of the animals, there were found images of people, both riders and unmounted men.

The rock carvings, which represent scenes, are divided into simple and complex. Simple images are the images of riders, archers, men with camels. The complex rock carvings are images of hunting scene, caravans or the process of dance. The scene of caravan procession is the image of camels and a man. They appear four times. The composition with the horses is also of great interest. It depicts a horse-drawn chariots, as well as riders.

Karakiyaksay petroglyphs vary. Unlike other sites with petroglyphs, the images here depict more religious scenes, the animal world is most clearly and fully represented. The ancient petroglyphs are less visible, some of the figures erased. This shows that the Karakiyaksay petroglyphs were not carved at the same time but over the centuries.

The figures, representing animals, are small from 5 to 40 cm. Moreover, it should be noted that the older pictures, allegedly of Saka period, are more sophisticated. These images were made by unparalleled masters of antiquity.

In contrast, more recent rock carvings were made more like symbolic schemes, and, moreover, they cover the petroglyphs of the Saka period. Karakiyasay petroglyphs depicting the chariot date back to the 2nd – the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. This is the most ancient petroglyphs depicted on the rocks in the gorge. One can not help wonder about how the tribes lived in this territory, and who is the master of that so skillfully carved all these subjects in stone.

(Based on M.Khudjanazarov’s book “Stone images of Hodjikent and Karakiyasay”, Samarkand, 1995)

Petroglyphs in Uzbekistan